A faction within Turkey’s military attempted to stage a coup on Friday.
The faction, which called itself the
“Peace at Home Council” said they had seized power, taken over the government, and declared martial law.
They deployed forces onto the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s largest city and capital, respectively, and closed two major bridges leading into Istanbul.
It is unclear as of this writing whether or not the coup will be successful.
However, several analysts have argued that if the coup fails, it’s possible that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan could tighten his grip on the country:
- “If Erdogan survives this, his hand will be even more strengthened and he will be able to convince people more easily that a presidential system is necessary,” Dr. Gonul Tol, director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies, told Business Insider in an email.
- “Whether it succeeds or fails, this attempted coup is likely to lead to a steep worsening of political conditions in Turkey. Mr. Erdogan has thrived on a divisive style of politics and has frequently demonized his opponents as coup-mongers. He will point to this attempted coup as a vindication of his democratic credentials and as a justification for a tightening of his grip on power,” argued the Economist Intelligence Unit.
- “Presuming they fail, Erdogan authoritarianism gets a lot stronger,” Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer tweeted earlier in the evening.
- “If Erdogan was looking for excuses to strengthen his authoritarian rule, he just found a lot of them in Turkey,” tweeted Nadav Pollak, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute.
Erdogan was elected Prime Minister in 2003. After his reign came to an end in 2014, he ran for president, which, until then, was more of a ceremonial role.
Over the past year, Erdogan has attempted to significantly expand his presidential powers in the wake of roughly 14 terror attacks on Turkish soil. Most notably, many took the resignation of the former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu in early May as a sign of Erdogan consolidating power.